Boart Longyear sees opportunity for product diversification in Europe

Sonic drill rig showing sonic string at the Boart Longyear booth at Bauma.

Mining equipment manufacturers have been feeling the pain of the commodities price lull for the past five years, but it is the lean times that usually foster a spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation.

That is definitely the case for Boart Longyear, which rolled out its latest products and construction tooling at Bauma 2016 from April 11 to 17 in Munich, Germany.

The construction industry mega-trade show saw record attendance and robust demand for equipment and products; over half a million attendees walked the 605,000-square metres of exhibition space, located on the site of the old Munich airport.

“Boart Longyear serves a number of industries, including construction but we’re not as well known in this market,” said Pascal Lefevre, director of sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). “Bauma provides an opportunity for us to build our reputation within the construction industry, meet with current customers and forge new relationships with potential customers from around the world.”

Lefevre booked a few minutes away from the Boart Longyear booth at the US pavilion to discuss the company’s strategy with as it continues to face headwinds, with mining companies keeping exploration budgets thin.

Geneva-based Lefevre said the most important thing that customers are asking for in today’s drilling tools marketplace is reliability.

“Customers rely on Boart Longyear to have the right tool in the right place, so the main thing they want from us is the ability to deliver immediately the tool they need,” he said, adding that communication with customers is key. “Once we are able to consolidate the needs of our customers, it’s a big exercise of planning, so we can synchronize the activities of our plans, with the different inventories we are holding.”

It’s also important to recognize the difference between markets. Africa and Russia still have a number of active exploration sites requiring drilling parts inventory, while Western Europe has a very small amount of exploration activity and a limited number of operating mines.

For the European market, then, Boart Longyear is focusing on the construction and sonic drilling industries. One particular growth area is “de-pollution,” where heavily-industrialized sites that are being remediated must be tested to ensure they are free of contaminants.

“We’re involved in supplying the tooling for companies that are doing the testing,” said Lefevre, adding that Boart Longyear was a pioneer in development of sonic technologies, with over 20 years of experience supplying drill rigs and drill strings for the sonic drilling industry.

Another construction bright spot is foundation drilling, where Boart Longyear’s freezing rods are used to freeze ground as a building takes shape from the ground up. The Salt Lake City-based company also supplies small tooling related to drill and blast operations during tunnel construction.

Click here for more on Boart Longyear’s offerings at Bauma including its full line of sonic performance tooling and the recently launched LS250 MiniSonic, a mid-sized sonic rig.

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